Photography Composition

30 Composition Techniques That Will Improve Your Photos

Photo of author
Written By Nate Torres

One of the most important skills a photographer can have is knowledge of composition.

This means knowing how to place elements in a photo to create the desired effect.

There are many different photography composition techniques and rules you can use, and in this guide, I’m going to share with you 30 of them!

In fact:

I use many of these when on photoshoots in order to create photos that not only I love, but my clients love as well.

So whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been at it for a while, these tips will help improve your photos.

Let’s dive right in.

If you’re more of a visual learner, be sure to check out the video version:

30 Photography Composition Tips in 30 Minutes
30 Photography Composition Tips in 30 Minutes Video

30 Photography Composition Techniques

Photography composition is the arrangement of elements within a photo to create the desired effect.

The way you arrange elements like your subject, background, and other features will directly affect how viewers feel about the image.

But:

Just like with any art form and “rules,” they’re meant to be broken — but only once you have a strong understanding of the rule.

Let’s dive into the 30 photography composition techniques:

1. Rule of Thirds

One of the most basic and important rules in photography is the rule of thirds.

This means dividing an image into three parts horizontally and vertically, creating nine equal sections.

Placing key elements at these intersections will create a more visually-appealing photo.

Rule of Third Photography Composition Technique
Rule of Third Photography Composition Technique

It’s called the rule of thirds because by creating these imaginary lines, it divides the photo into thirds.

Placing a key element or the subject at one of these intersections, can draw the viewer’s eye and create balance in the photo.

For example:

In this image I took in Japan, I have the sun aligned at the bottom left intersection:

But why is this?

It’s believed that our eyes naturally go to one of these intersections when looking at an image, so they act as natural guides.

And while it’s called a “rule,” it’s more of a creative suggestion.

You don’t have to always follow it, but using it will help you create better photos.

2. Frame Within a Frame

A frame within a frame is an easy and effective way to draw the viewer’s eye into the photo.

It creates a sense of depth and can be used to highlight your subject.

This technique involves placing something in front of the subject that acts as a frame, such as trees or other objects.

This creates a natural border for your subject and draws the eye into the photo.

By placing a frame in front of the subject, you will be creating a frame within a frame.

This is because the image you capture from the camera lens is already one frame.

For example:

Let’s say you have a subject standing between two trees.

The two trees will be one frame and the image itself will be the other frame — creating a frame within a frame.

You can see this example with a portrait I took of a friend. Notice how the two palm trees are framing her within the image:

Frame Within a Frame Photography Composition Technique
Frame Within a Frame Photography Composition Technique

Other things you can use to create a frame within a frame include arches, doorways, windows, and even hands.

The possibilities are endless!

3. Centering and Symmetry

They say symmetry is often what makes people extremely attractive or not, well the same goes for an aesthetically pleasing photo.

Centering and symmetry are techniques that involve placing the subject in the center of the photo.

This creates a sense of balance because it’s evenly distributed on both sides.

The best way to use this technique is to image halving the image down the middle and make sure both sides are like mirrored images of themselves.

For example:

Take a look at this image:

Symmetry Photography Composition Technique
Symmetry Photography Composition Technique

By doing this, you create a sense of balance in the photo.

The viewer’s eye will be drawn to the subject without being distracted by other elements.

It also helps if you use symmetry when combining objects in the background.

For example, try placing two trees or two people on each side of your subject for a symmetrical composition.

4. Leading Lines

Leading lines are lines in the photo that act as a great way to draw the viewer’s eye into the photo.

These can be anything from roads, pathways, and fences to waves or even people’s bodies.

It’s called leading lines because they lead the viewer’s eye into the frame.

These lines can be used to create a sense of depth, as well as direct attention to your subject.

Leading lines are also great for creating a sense of movement within an image.

For example:

If you have people walking in a straight line toward your subject, it will draw the viewer’s eye toward them.

Take a look at this example using the bridge ropes as leading lines — leading to the subject in the photo:

Leading Lines Photography Composition Technique
Leading Lines Photography Composition Technique

You can also use leading lines to draw attention away from your subject if you want to focus on another element in the background or foreground.

I love using leading lines in my images and it’s often one of my go-to photography composition techniques.

5. Foreground Depth and Interest

Foreground depth and interest can help your photos stand out.

This is a technique that involves including elements in the foreground to give your photo more depth.

This could be anything from rocks, trees, plants, or even people.

Having something in the foreground gives the photo more texture and dimension than if it was just a flat image.

It also helps to create a sense of depth in the photo by adding elements that are closer to the camera and further away from it.

Including something like an animal or person in the foreground can also help draw attention to your subject, as our eyes naturally wander toward movement and color.

For example:

Look at this image and its great use of rocks in the foreground to provide depth:

Foreground Photography Composition Technique
Foreground Photography Composition Technique

6. Triangles and Diagonal Lines

Triangles and diagonal lines are great for creating dynamic compositions and tension.

This technique involves using triangles or diagonal lines to draw the viewer’s eyes into the photo.

The triangle shape can be created by having two elements on either side of your subject.

Such as buildings or trees, and then an element in front of them that forms the top of the triangle.

Diagonal lines can also be used to create a sense of movement and interest in your photo.

It’s a great way to draw the viewer’s eye into the frame, as well as add some drama and tension to an image.

Dynamic composition is achieved by having multiple elements of varying sizes and angles that create visual interest.For example:

You could have a large triangle shape in the background with your subject in one corner and your focal point in the other.

This creates an interesting dynamic with the different elements in the photo.

The “tension” in the photo is caused by lines that are not horizontal or vertical, but diagonal.

Diagonal lines create a sense of instability in our subconscious.

Perhaps this is due to the fact that diagonal lines are rarely seen in nature and often suggest falling or slipping in human nature.

Take a look at this image using leading lines as well as triangle and diagonal lines to add depth and an interesting dynamic to the photo:

Triangles & Diagonals Photography Composition Technique - After (1)
Triangles & Diagonals Photography Composition Technique – After (1)

7. Creating Patterns

As humans, we are naturally attracted to patterns — this can even be seen in our everyday patterns of daily life.

Creating patterns is a photography composition technique that can help add interest to your photos.

It involves using elements in the scene to create a pattern or rhythm of sorts.

This could be anything from repeating lines, shapes, colors, or textures.

This technique helps to draw the viewer’s eye around the frame and creates a sense of movement and flow.

For example:

You could have a landscape with several trees in the background and then use some rocks or stones in the foreground to create a pattern.

This helps break up the monotony of the photo and adds visual interest.

Take a look at this example using patterns from the road:

Patterns Photography Composition Technique
Patterns Photography Composition Technique

Creating patterns can also be done with people or animals in your photos.

You could have a group of people standing in a line or arrange them in a circle to create an interesting pattern.

Using patterns in photography is great for creating balance and directing the viewer’s eye around the frame.

It’s also a great way to add some movement and rhythm to your photos.

8. Pattern-Breaking

We just talked about patterns, now let’s talk about breaking them.

Pattern-breaking is a photography composition technique that involves breaking up patterns in an image.

It can be a very effective way to draw attention to the subject and direct the viewer’s eye around the frame.

This technique involves looking for repeating elements or colors in a scene and then using something to break them up.

This could be anything from a person walking through the scene or an element that stands out from the others.

Using the previous example:

Now take a look at this pattern-breaking technique using the contrasting color of the yellow against the black and white pattern of the crossing lines:

Pattern Breaking Photography Composition Technique
Pattern Breaking Photography Composition Technique

This technique is great for adding interest and balance to a photo.

It can also be used to create tension and drama, as breaking up patterns can often give off a feeling of uneasiness.

Have you ever seen those movie scenes or images where everybody is walking one way and then you have one person walking the opposite way (towards them) — that’s pattern-breaking.

Using pattern-breaking can help your photos stand out and draw attention to your subject.

It’s an effective way to direct the viewer’s eye and create a dynamic composition.

9. Texture

In photography, texture is referred to as the surface quality of an object or scene.

It can be used to add visual interest and create a more dynamic composition.

Using texture in your photos is great for adding depth and drawing attention to certain elements within the frame.

The key is to find textures that stand out from the other elements in the scene.

For example:

Stone rocks or a rippling lake could be used to add texture to a landscape.

In a still life, you could use fabric or fur to create an interesting texture.

Take a look at this example leveraging the ripple in the lake to add texture:

Texture Photography Composition Technique
Texture Photography Composition Technique

Using textures in your photos can help make them more visually appealing and draw attention to important elements in the frame.

It’s also great for creating depth and giving the viewer something to explore.

Next time you’re out taking photos, keep an eye out for interesting textures that you can incorporate into your compositions.

Some of my favorite textures include stone walls, grass, rippling water, fur, fabric, and bark.

Play around with different textures to find what works best for your photos!

10. Rule of Odds

The rule of odds is another composition technique that isn’t necessarily a “rule,” but more of a creative suggestion.

The rule of odds states that an odd number of elements in a photo will be more visually appealing than an even number of elements.

For example:

Instead of having two people in a portrait, try to have three or five.

This helps create some visual interest and can help draw attention to the subject.

Take a look at this photo of 3 palm trees:

Rule of Odds Photography Composition Technique
Rule of Odds Photography Composition Technique

The rule of odds isn’t set in stone and it’s not something you have to adhere to strictly.

However, it can be a helpful guideline when trying to create a more dynamic composition.

Personally:

I don’t like this composition technique that much because it is too simple — “oh just have an odd number of elements in my photo and I will have a great composition.

For example:

Take a look at this photo of two palm tree and even though it’s an even number I still think the photo looks good:

Rule of Odds Photography Composition Technique - Breaking Rule
Rule of Odds Photography Composition Technique – Breaking Rule

I just wanted to include this one in case you hear others talking about the rule of odds.

11. Simplicity

Simplicity is one of the most important photography composition techniques.

It involves stripping away all unnecessary elements and keeping only what’s essential in the frame.

This can be a difficult concept to grasp, as it’s often counterintuitive to think that less is more.

But when used correctly, simplicity can be an incredibly powerful tool for creating impactful photos.

When framing your shot, try to remove any distractions that could draw attention away from the main subject.

This can be done by using a shallow depth of field or shooting from a different angle.

Keep in mind that simplicity doesn’t mean you have to eliminate all elements — it’s more about finding the right balance between elements.

Personally:

When I’m going for simplicity, I aim to have only 3-5 elements in a photo.

I believe more than that could clutter the image causing the viewer to not know what to pay attention to.

For example:

In this portrait I took, I have 3 focal points/elements.

They include the subject, the grass, and the trees behind her:

Simplicity Photography Composition Technique
Simplicity Photography Composition Technique

Simplicity is one of my favorite composition techniques because it can help you create strong, impactful photos that tell a story and convey emotion.

Contrast this idea of simplicity with a photo that most of us have taken starting out on our photography journey.

In this photo, you can see there are many elements (about 11) and it’s hard to focus on the main subject:

Simplicity Photography Composition Technique - Breaking Rule
Simplicity Photography Composition Technique – Breaking Rule

Let’s say we just cropped in this image a bit to reduce some of the focal points/elements.

It already becomes a bit easier to notice the subject and makes the photo a bit more impactful:

Simplicity Photography Composition Technique - Cropping In
Simplicity Photography Composition Technique – Cropping In

12. Fill the Frame

Filling the frame is a great composition technique that helps draw attention to your subject.

It involves getting up close and personal with your subject so that it occupies most of the space in the frame.

This eliminates distractions and creates an intimate connection between the viewer and the subject.

When shooting, try to get as close as possible to the subject so that it fills up most of the frame.

Of course:

This will depend on what type of photo you’re taking and how close you are physically able to get.

This technique is particularly useful when shooting portraits, photos of buildings, or capturing wildlife in nature.

It can help create a powerful connection between the viewer and the subject!

Take a look at this great photo that does an excellent job of filling the frame:

Filling the Frame for Emphasis
Filling the Frame for Emphasis

It makes the photo feel very personal and intimate, and it can be a great way to draw attention to certain elements in the frame.

13. Using Black and White

Black and white photography can be a great way to add an extra layer of emotion to your photos.

By removing color from the equation, you are forcing the viewer to focus on form, texture, patterns, and tones.

This can help create a very striking image that stands out from the rest.

For example:

Take a look at this excellent, yet minimalistic photo of a tree.

If you ask me, if it were in color, it might not be as impactful.

We wouldn’t pay such close attention to the contrast and texture of the photo that makes it so great!:

Black and White Photography Composition Technique
Black and White Photography Composition Technique

When shooting in black and white, try to think about what elements will be most effective in a monochrome photo.

For example, patterns and shapes can often look very striking in black-and-white photos.

Color can be a powerful tool for communication, but sometimes black and white is the better option when you want to convey certain emotions or ideas.

When it comes to black-and-white photography, you’ll want to go into the photo shoot knowing that you want to capture a black-and-white photo.

I’ve found that going into the session with this state of mind will allow you to focus on the patterns and shapes within the frame.

14. Negative Space

Negative space is a great way to draw attention to the subject of your photo.

It involves leaving blank spaces in the frame that give your subject “breathing room” and create a sense of balance in the composition.

This also helps draw focus to the main element by removing distractions from around it.

As you can tell, this is the complete opposite of filling the frame as mentioned earlier.

When creating negative space, think about how you can use it to create visual balance.

This could be playing around with the placement of elements in the frame or using different depths of field to draw attention to the subject.

Negative space is a great way to make your photos stand out and convey emotion without having too many elements competing for attention in the image.

The way I love to use negative space is to place the subject either in the right or left 1/3 of the image, and leave the other 2/3 of the image as negative space/breathing room.

For example:

In this image, I have the people, sand, and water on the bottom 1/3rd of the image and have the sky fill 2/3rds of the image to give some breathing room and add a sense of space to the image:

Negative Space Photography Composition Technique
Negative Space Photography Composition Technique

I’ve found negative space images work well for most types of photography such as portrait, landscapes, and street photography.

15. Photographing From Below

Photographing from below is another great composition technique that can be useful for a variety of different types of images.

This involves shooting from a lower angle than your subject rather than shooting from eye level or above.

This helps create an interesting perspective and creates a kind of power dynamic between you and the subject.

It can be a great way to add drama and emotion to an image without any other elements.

When shooting from below, try to keep the angle low enough so that you can still capture details but not too low where it becomes uncomfortable for the viewer.

For example:

In this previous image I’ve shown earlier, I shoot from below to add a sense of drama to the image:

Frame Within a Frame Photography Composition Technique
Frame Within a Frame Photography Composition Technique

This technique works really well when photographing people, animals, or landscapes.

It’s also a great way to create dynamic street photography images.

Have you seen those images that are captured with the camera just a bit above a road looking up?

That’s what I’m talking about.

16. Photographing From Above

Photographing from above is another great way to create an interesting perspective and visual impact.

You may have also heard of shooting from a bird’s eye view which is pretty much the same thing.

This involves shooting from a higher angle than your subject rather than shooting from eye level or below.

This helps to show the environment in which the subject resides and can help draw focus to the main elements.

For example:

In this portrait I photograph from above:

Photographing From Above Photography Composition Technique
Photographing From Above Photography Composition Technique

It’s also a great technique for shooting landscapes and street photography as it can help to add depth to the image.

When photographing from above, try not to go too high so that you don’t lose details in your images.

If you’re photographing a person, then this isn’t really my favorite compositional technique.

This is because it tends to make the person look small — good for newborn photography, but not good for a portrait of a strong-looking male or female.

If you’re shooting birds or animals, then this is a great way to show the relationship between them and their environment.

This technique works really well for capturing details of a scene and can be used in all types of photography.

If you are into aerial photography/drone photography, then this is usually your go-to photography composition technique.

17. Using Analogous Colors

Using analogous colors is another great composition technique that can help you create a more balanced image.

Analogous colors are three or four adjacent hues on the color wheel which create a harmonious effect when used together.

Analogous Colors on Color Wheel
Analogous Colors on Color Wheel

For example:

Using red and orange together creates a warm feeling and blue and green together give off a calming vibe.

By using analogous colors in your composition, you can create a more cohesive look and feel to the image.

This works especially well for landscapes or still-life images as it helps bring out the details and textures of the scene.

In this portrait example:

I use the analogous colors of green and blue to add a sense of cool tones and moodiness to the image:

Analogous Colors Photography Composition Technique
Analogous Colors Photography Composition Technique

When trying this technique, try to use subtle gradients of the same color to give an extra level of depth and interest to the image.

18. Using Complementary Colors

Using complementary colors is another great photography composition technique that can help create a more impactful image.

Complementary colors are two hues opposite to each other on the color wheel, for example, red and green or blue and orange.

Complementary Colors on Color Wheel
Complementary Colors on Color Wheel

This technique works really well when shooting portraits or still-life images as it helps draw attention to the main elements of the image.

It can also help create a contrast between two similar objects or scenes and helps add depth to the image.

When using complementary colors, try to keep them subtle as too much can end up looking overly saturated or chaotic.

This technique works best when used in moderation and will often give your photos an extra bit of visual appeal.

My favorite complementary color combination is orange and blue which is exactly what you see when photographing an ocean landscape (the water and the sun):

Complementary Colors Photography Composition Technique
Complementary Colors Photography Composition Technique

19. Using Monochromatic Colors

Using monochromatic colors is another great photography composition technique that can help create a more unified look and feel to the image.

Monochromatic colors are simple shades of one single color, for example, different hues of blue or red.

This helps unify all the elements of an image by tying them together with the same color and makes them appear more cohesive.

For example:

This image uses the monochromatic colors of blue (various shades of blue):

Monochromatic Photography Composition Technique
Monochromatic Photography Composition Technique

When using this technique, try to use subtle gradations of the same color as this will give your images a much better look.

Depending on the color, monochromatic colors are great for creating extremes such as moody, joyful, or atmospheric scenes that draw out the best qualities of an image.

20. Balance in a Scene

Balance in a scene is another great photography composition technique that can help create an interesting and pleasing image.

This means making sure there are equal amounts of elements on one side or the other.

If you were to use the rule of thirds in an image and the image was still feeling visually empty, then you would place another element or subject on the other side of the frame.

For example:

If you have a tree on one side of the frame then you may want to add something like a mountain or lake on the other side.

This helps to create a sense of balance and symmetry in the photo.

The difference is that you will want to have one main subject, and a secondary subject so they aren’t both competing for visual dominance.

Take a look at this photo I took for a graduation session.

As you can see the subject is on the left half of the photo.

If there was nothing on the right side, it would be a bit visually empty.

By having the building on the right side, it adds visual balance:

Balance Photography Composition Technique - Before
Balance Photography Composition Technique
Balance Photography Composition Technique

It’s also important to pay attention to how you distribute different elements in the frame so that nothing looks too crowded or too empty.

This can help draw more focus on the main subject without looking too overwhelming or distracting.

When using this technique, try to keep the elements in close proximity so that there is a nice flow throughout the image.

This also helps to avoid any distractions or empty parts of the photo.

21. Using Contrast

Using contrast is another great photography composition technique that can help create an interesting and visually appealing image.

Contrast involves adding two opposite elements together like light and dark, or warm and cold colors.

For example:

Take a look at this image of a flower that uses color for contrast:

Contrast Photography Composition Technique
Contrast Photography Composition Technique

When using this technique, try to keep the contrast subtle, so it doesn’t become too overwhelming or distracting.

This can also be done with color, texture or light and will often give your image an extra bit of visual appeal.

If you use contrast with colors then you’ll most likely be using complementary colors as mentioned earlier.

22. Rule of Space

The rule of space is another great photography composition technique that can help create a more dynamic and interesting image.

This means when photographing a subject, adding an element of “space” in front of the subject.

This works especially well with portraits or animals as it helps draw your eye toward the main subject.

For example:

If you were taking a photo of a person then you may want to have them looking in the direction of an open space.

This will add more depth and interest to the image.

When using this technique, try to keep the space subtle so it doesn’t turn into too much empty negative space.

By using this technique, you can help avoid having a boring or “flat” photo and create something that is more visually appealing and interesting.

For example:

In this image, the subject is looking to the left so I try to have more space in the left half of the photo to create this sense of space:

Rule of Space Photography Composition Technique
Rule of Space Photography Composition Technique

You can also have the opposite of this and have a subject facing the other way.

If you want to see a great example of this, then I recommend watching or studying Mr. Robot’s cinematography.

That show implements this a lot to create a sense of tension along with a state of feeling trapped.

23. Juxtaposition

Juxtaposition means placing two elements together that contrast against each other.

For example:

An image of a blooming flower in the foreground of a cemetery backdrop could symbolize the cycle of life and death.

Juxtaposition is a subtle, yet powerful composition technique.

When using this technique, try to keep the elements close together so they are in the same frame.

This will help create a stronger connection and add more impact to your photo.

Unlike using complementary colors, juxtaposition is more about the story behind the contrast instead of just using colors.

For example:

Another example of powerful juxtaposition could be a photo of a homeless camp in the foreground with giant corporate skyscrapers in the background — symbolizing wealth disparity.

Another example of juxtaposition can be seen in this image of an older building in front of corporate skyscrapers — symbolizing the old and new and modern development:

Juxtaposition Photography Composition Technique
Juxtaposition Photography Composition Technique

24. Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio is a mathematical ratio that is often used in photography to create pleasing compositions.

The ratio is based on the Fibonacci sequence, which starts with 0 and 1.

Each subsequent number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two numbers, so the sequence goes 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and so on.

The Golden Ratio is equal to approximately 1.618, which means that for every unit of length there are 1.618 units of length on either side.

This ratio can be applied to photography by dividing the frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically.

The intersections of these lines are called power points, and they are typically where the eye is drawn first.

By placing the subject of the photo at one of these power points, the composition will be more pleasing to the eye.

The Golden Ratio can also be used to determine the optimal width or height for a photo.

While there is no hard and fast rule for using the Golden Ratio in photography, understanding and applying this simple concept can help you to create better compositions and take your photos to the next level.

The main takeaway for photographers with the Golden Ratio is what’s called the “Fibonacci Spiral,” or “Golden Spiral.”

This is an imaginary spiral used to create more aesthetically pleasing images.

Many times this will be in the form of a logarithmic spiral that looks like a circular pattern with outward curves branching off it.

By placing your subject within the Golden Spiral, you can create an attractive composition that leads the viewer’s eye throughout the image and around the subject.

This can be particularly helpful when creating landscapes or other wide-angle compositions, as it will help direct the viewer’s attention in a more specific way.

For example:

In this portrait image, the Golden Spiral can be applied:

Golden Ratio Photography Composition Technique
Golden Ratio Photography Composition Technique

The Golden Ratio is not always necessary to create an attractive composition.

But understanding and applying this concept can be a great way to improve your photos and make them stand out from the crowd.

I personally never set out on a photo shoot with the Golden Spiral in mind as I’d rather focus on symmetry or the rule of thirds.

I think most photographers can find an accidental way they created the Golden Spiral rather than composing an image with the spiral in mind.

25. Golden Triangles

The Golden Triangle is another mathematical ratio and a variation of the Golden Ratio.

The three sides of the triangle are proportional to each other in a way that creates an aesthetically pleasing composition.

This technique can be used by dividing the frame into four rectangles, with two on either side and one in the center.

An easier way to think of this is to just have a diagonal line from one corner to the other.

Along this diagonal line are two smaller lines that go to the other corners in the frame creating a 90-degree angle along the middle diagonal line.

The Golden Triangle is most often used in landscape photography.

It can help create an interesting composition that draws the viewer’s eye around the frame.

By placing your subject along one of the two diagonals you can create a more powerful composition than if you simply placed it in the center of the frame.

For example:

Using an image I showed earlier, we can also apply the Golden Triangle to set the sun as the focal point:

Golden Triangles Photography Composition Technique
Golden Triangles Photography Composition Technique

Like with other composition techniques, the Golden Triangle is not always necessary to create an aesthetically pleasing image.

But understanding what it is can help you grow as a photographer.

Similar to the Golden Ratio, I believe it can be a bit difficult to set out on a shoot with this composition in mind.

Most photographers can claim to have a golden triangle within a photo that just follows the rule of thirds composition rule.

26. Layers

When composing a photo, adding layers can help direct the viewer’s eye around the frame and make an image more interesting.

Layers are simply two or more distinct elements that sit on different planes in the scene.

The layers in an image usually consist of the background, the middle distance, and the foreground.

For example:

In a landscape photo, you may have a distant mountain range in the background, trees in the middle distance, and then rocks or other objects in the foreground.

Taking a look at this photo, we see great use of this:

Layers Photography Composition Technique
Layers Photography Composition Technique

By including multiple layers in your composition you can create an image that draws the viewer’s eye around the scene and gives them something to explore.

This technique is particularly useful for landscape photography or any other type of wide-angle shot.

You don’t have to always include three layers in every image.

But by understanding how this technique works you can improve your compositions and make them more eye-catching.

27. Decisive Moment

While this is more of a photographing mindset, I wanted to include it on this list because photographing with the “Decisive Moment” in mind can strongly influence the composition of your photograph.

The “Decisive Moment” comes from famous French street photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson.

The Decisive Moment essentially means waiting for the right moment to press the shutter.

The Decisive Moment is often a compositional technique and mindset a photographer has when photographing street photography or landscape photography.

It consists of the photographer finding a scene they like and then already creating a composition.

The photographer then waits until something enters the scene that adds value to the image.

Of course, I’m crudely oversimplifying but that’s the gist of it.

For example:

In street photography, you may find a scene that looks interesting.

Such as a rain puddle, and then wait until someone enters the frame in an interesting way.

Such as a child jumping over that rain puddle.

With landscape photography, you could take a photo of the sky and then wait for something to happen such as clouds moving or birds flying into your composition.

Taking a look at this beautiful street photograph, I’m sure Molly (the photographer) found the lighting in this scene to be perfect and waited for the right subject to enter the frame:

Decisive Moment Photography Composition Technique
Decisive Moment Photography Composition Technique

By waiting for the right moment to take the photo, you can create some truly unique compositions that otherwise would not have been possible.

Including the Decisive Moment in your composition technique can help you capture those moments that only happen for a split second and make your photos stand out from others!

28. Human Interest

As photographers, we often try to include something in our photos that makes them stand out from the rest.

One way to do this is by adding a bit of human interest.

Imagine you have a photo of a giant mountain.

Cool, it’s a giant mountain.

Now imagine that giant mountain along with a human or group of humans in the middle ground to show the scale and majesty of the mountain.

This makes the image much more impactful and interesting to look at.

This technique works great for landscape photos as it gives a sense of scale and adds an element of humanity to the photo.

By including this technique in your compositions you can create powerful images that capture both the beauty of the natural world and the human element in a single frame.

For example:

Take a look at this image that does a great job of adding human interest to an already great looking setting:

Human Interest Photography Composition Technique
Human Interest Photography Composition Technique

If you take a photo of something vast or beautiful and it just isn’t conveying that sense of beauty in the image, then add a human element to the photo.

You can do this by having a friend stand or walk somewhere in the frame or you can use the “Decisive Moment” as mentioned earlier to wait until someone enters the scene.

29. Curved Lines

One of the most powerful compositional techniques is using curved lines.

Curved lines in your photos can draw the viewer’s eye around the frame and create a sense of flow.

Curved lines can be used for many different types of photography including landscape, cityscape, street photography, and much more.

It works well with any type of photography that includes leading lines as it will add a sense of dynamic movement to the image.

If you’ve heard of the “S Curve” or “C Curve” then this is pretty much the same thing.

For example:

Take a look at this portrait I took using the road as a C/S curve to lead the eye to the subject and provide a bit more visual depth:

Curved Line After

Whether you’re looking for a subtle curve or a more dramatic effect, by understanding how curved lines work in compositions you can improve your photos and make them more interesting to look at.

30. Parallel Lines

Another powerful compositional technique is the use of parallel lines.

This can be used in many different types of photography including landscape and street photography.

Parallel lines are a great way to create depth in your images as they lead the viewer’s eye into the frame, creating a sense of depth and perspective.

Examples of using parallel lines in photography can include train tracks, escalator steps, road lines, bridges, etc.

For example:

Take a look at this image that uses the lines in park benches to add some parallel lines:

Parallel Lines Photography Composition Technique
Parallel Lines Photography Composition Technique

When using parallel lines, it can often be paired with the idea of leading lines as well as can be seen in the example above.

These are just a few of the many photography composition techniques out there.

There are plenty more that you can explore and experiment with in order to create unique and impactful images.

There is no single right way to compose a photo, but these techniques will certainly help you capture interesting compositions that stand out from the rest.

And like I mentioned in the beginning, there are no hard set “rules” in art, only creative suggestions — but it’s important to know the rules before you can break them.

So get out there and start experimenting!

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